Tyson Foods to shut three factories, cut 950 jobs

Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:36pm EDT
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(The third paragraph quote in this July 25 story has been corrected to make timeline clear)

(Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N: Quote) said it will discontinue operations at three of its factories which make processed meat products such as sausages and hot dogs, affecting about 950 people.

The largest U.S. meat processor, which won the bidding war for Hillshire Brands Co HSH.N in June, said the closures were not related to the acquisition.

"The closings were under consideration long before our decision to pursue Hillshire Brands", Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told Reuters.

Tyson outbid Pilgrim's Pride Corp (PPC.O: Quote) with its $63 per share offer for Hillshire, valuing the Jimmy Dean sausages maker at $8.55 billion.

The closures were due to changing product needs, an aging Cherokee, Iowa factory and the distance of the Buffalo, New York and Santa Teresa, New Mexico plants from their raw material supply base, the company said on Friday.

"The consolidation helps them get transportation efficiencies," Chris Hurt, an agricultural economist with Purdue University, said.

The number of beef cattle in the United States is at its lowest level in 63 years due to severe droughts, reducing the amount of meat available to process.

The Cherokee factory will close on Sep. 27, while the other two are expected to stop operating in the first half of 2015.   Continued...

Packages of Tyson food beef meat loaf are reflected in a mirror as they sit on a refrigerator for sale at a grocery store in Encinitas, California May 29,  2014.   REUTERS/Mike Blake